As your company scales upwards, you tend to handle more orders, more transactions, and generally more data. This can become dangerous fast, especially if you experience a sudden boom in business and you don’t have the necessary tools in place to handle the increased demands. Successful companies have in recent years transformed e-commerce as we know it.
But how do they do it? How do they cope with the millions of demands and orders coming in every month and run their business effectively? With hundreds, if not thousands, of online shopping platforms all over the globe you need to offer a seamless customer experience for your e-commerce company to stand out. Successful organizations leverage tools such as ERP to help drive their enterprises forward.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a business management software that simplifies how an organization tracks and manages critical business data and operations. The chief function of ERP software is to ensure amazing simultaneous collaboration between core business processes such as HR management, financial accounting, marketing operations, order processing, and supply chain management.
In this blog though, we are going to focus on ERP integration with e-commerce.
What is ERP Integration?
ERP integration is simply linking and synchronizing your ERP software with other business applications such as E-Commerce (Front-end/storefront), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), analytics, marketing tools, and other databases that your business operates with. While ERP is a powerful tool in its own right, it offers even more value when integrated with other applications in your tech stack.
How is ERP Integration with E-Commerce Done?
Now that we know what an ERP is, and what ERP integration means, let’s discuss in detail how to integrate your ERP with your e-commerce.
Understand Your E-Commerce Data sources
The first step in E-Commerce and ERP integration is identifying and understanding your data sources. This means going beyond the data from your e-commerce website (note that the data from your website is still vital). You can leverage the data from your social media networks as well to enrich the data. Ensure that you liaise with your marketing team and your social media managers to ensure that they are all on the same page with the rest of the team.
Keep a list of all possible sources of e-commerce business data and constantly update it as you connect with new partners, SaaS providers, B2B buyers, PaaS providers, and especially cloud-based services. The initial stride in achieving ERP and e-commerce integration is recognizing where your data needs come from.
Get a Data Integration Solution
Most ERP tools or platforms have built-in connectors to the most renowned e-commerce platforms such as Shopify. However, most of these focus solely on financial aspects that support business accounting solutions. Of course, the financial side of your business is important, but as we mentioned earlier, it's better to have multiple data sources. Keeping this in mind, you will need an integration solution that can do it all. ControlHub is without a doubt the best solution for handling multiple connections for complete ERP and e-commerce integration.
Choose How to Connect to Your Data
The next step in data integration is choosing a data integration technique. ETL, which is short for Extract, Transform and Load, is one of the most popular modern data integration practices. ETL involves creating individual data channels for each distinct data source. These channels can be automated to pull data through at set intervals or when changes are made to the data. The data is then transformed into a single format type and is directed either into a data lake or a data warehouse, ready to be analyzed by your business intelligence tools.
An alternative to ETL is ELT, which stands for Extract, Load, and Transform. ELT works almost similar to ETL; the only difference is that the data is brought directly into your data lake before any transformations are made to it. ELT is great for handling large piles of unstructured data. Research suggests that by 2025, the volume of unstructured data will reach a staggering 175 billion.
Dedicated data integration platforms like ControlHub allow multiple users to create, manage, and monitor data channels, without having to worry too much about what’s going on in the back-end of the system.
Align Your Workflow with the New System
Once your ERP-ECommerce integration is up and running, prepare for any radical changes in your current workflow. This will involve regular training of employees and conducting regular assessments to determine whether the system effectively handles the goals of the integration.
Regardless of what your online business specializes in, integrating ERP with e-commerce significantly improves the coherent handling of business data and results in better business decisions. Your customer experience significantly improves and this means better days for your business.
ControlHub empowers e-commerce businesses to do more with their data. If you want to take your e-commerce to the next level, contact us today irrespective of the e-commerce system that you are currently using.